Hosts of HGTV show Desert Flippers Eric and Lindsey Bennett take a break from renovating houses to decorate their home for the holidays. Having had white Christmases before moving to Palm Springs in California, Lindsey shares how the Bennett family has embraced spending Christmas in a warm and sunny climate. Read on to learn more about this couple’s design style and their family’s holiday traditions in this guest post.
Christmas in the desert is as unique as the place itself. There aren’t many places in the world where you can play and lounge poolside in the sun by day and fireside and hot tub at night—all in your own backyard. While 20 minutes away, you can ride up the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to enjoy snow and sledding. And two hours away, you can frolic on sandy Westcoast beaches or ski on the mountainous Big Bear ranges.
We’ve found all the wonders of our Midwest Christmas past, plus new sunny wonders of our Christmas present, in this desert oasis we currently call home. The best part is that our Midwest family comes to our house now for Christmas as a retreat from the cold and snow. With family, friends, and a variety of desert winter wonders, it’s become our treasured home for the holidays!
Holiday Family Traditions
There is so much to love about Christmas wherever you live. Be it in snow or in sunshine, the togetherness and love that we share is what makes the season special. The traditions we create and celebrate illicit nostalgia and memories for a lifetime. That’s why we love to decorate for Christmas, it recreates traditions of the past for the present enjoyment and future hopefulness,
Coming from Wisconsin, Eric and I grew up with fresh trees and white Christmases. So when we moved to Palm Springs, CA 12 years ago, the warm, sunny climate just didn’t feel like Christmas. Every December we trekked across the country to WI. After having children, making this trip with three small boys in tow, and spending hours stuck on airplanes and in airports, we found ourselves exhausted at the end of it.
We love our family and friends in WI, the fellowship, the snow, and festivities. However, we decided it was time to embrace our new California home and all the wonder that exists here at Christmastime. What we discovered was a blissful, sunny, winter wonderland that was here the whole time!
Our holiday traditions grow every year. Some of our favorite Christmas things to do in the desert are the Palm Springs Festival of Lights, Tree-lighting at the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, Wildlights at the Living Desert, Breakfast with Santa at the Children’s Museum of the Desert, Candy Cane Lane Holiday Light Festival, and Christmas Eve Service at Hosanna City Church.
At home, we love to bake and decorate sugar cookies for Christmas. The kids help to decorate the house and the tree. We bring out Christmas books and toys to get into the Christmas spirit. We even go caroling on Christmas Eve after candlelight church service to spread holiday cheer in our neighborhood!
Decorating for Christmas
The indoor-outdoor appeal of desert living makes decorating for the holidays center around the unique lifestyle that exists here. My personal design aesthetic is minimalist, with warm rustic elements of nature, stunning statement pieces of glam and real-life accents for that “lived-in” feel.
I love to be minimalist in the foundation of our personal home aesthetic because we have three little boys and there is plenty of day-to-day clutter to go around. The clean lines, open spaces and cohesive color pallet lend way to an overall calming and serene environment. My kids can run around the furniture, bring toys and pillows to play and snuggle with, and it only adds to the natural, lived-in vibe of our home. That’s all the personalization that is needed.
I’ve laid the framework in foundational pieces of furniture, character with natural stone walls, concrete, and marble, accents with wood, brass, and matte black, and my family brings the life and color to personalize it to “us.” We’ve dedicated places for the kids’ artwork, open spaces for play, and cozy corners for cuddling. All in all, it’s the place we love to call home.
Eric always jokes that I start decorating for Christmas in July…and he’s only half kidding. I would have Christmas décor in our home all year through if I could. There is something about the feeling it evokes…the spirit of Christmas…that makes me never want it to end. So the time to decorate for Christmas is one of my favorites.
The Christmas décor I incorporated into our great room this year lends way to that modern minimalist nature inside. The Balsam Hill’s Alpine Balsam Fir tree encompasses a natural simplicity. This tree was the most refreshing addition to our holiday decorating this year. From the ease of assembly and fluffing to the stunning matte bronze tree base, this tree in and of itself is a simple masterpiece.
Our five-year-old helped me to assemble the four sections of the 8.5’ tree in a quick 10 minutes. LED lights instantly lit up the branches at each click of the pre-sectioned trunk. Upon assembly, the tree made a statement of its own. To top it off, the Balsam Hill’s Nicole Miller Collection of ornaments and a Bethlehem star was all I needed to add a perfect sparkle and shine. Fur stockings, simple wreaths, balsam fir sprigs, and natural pillows finished the decor by cozying up the space.
Christmas Celebrations Outdoors
Open the double doors to our outdoor patio and backyard where we enjoy our very own desert winter wonderland. The swimming pool, palm trees, and snow-capped mountain backdrop are the perfect playground for our family in the winter.
I’ve decked the tree and the tables with succulent garland to weave in a desert vibe. Our dining table and benches lend way to easy poolside snacking and dining. Copper carafe and tumblers house our favorite caramel apple drink, with frosted cranberries and rosemary garnish.
I love to bring a lush evergreen tree into our desert holiday décor because it’s like having a piece of Wisconsin here. The 8.5” Balsam Hill Balsam Fir tree is the centerpiece of our outdoor retreat. Sectioned into five pre-lit pieces, this tree was quick to assemble. The fluffing took some time, given the lushness of this tree, but thankfully Balsam Hill provides gloves to make the work light.
I grouped a blend of matte and glossy burgundy ornaments together to resemble cranberries on the tree. I added geometric ornaments to add glam and sparkle and balance my design. During the day, the tree boldly adds to the desert landscape. At night, it lights up our outdoor living room.
There is so much to love about Christmas. In the hustle and bustle of it all, we remind our children that Jesus is the reason for the season. We love Christmas because it is a celebration of God’s love, forgiveness, and the blessing of family. Merry Christmas from our family to yours!
For more holiday home decorations, visit the Balsam Hill site.